Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Advice for Living Green

Yours is to wonder why, hers is to answer (or try). Send your green-living questions to Umbra.

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Umbra Fisk is Grist Research Associate II, Hardcover and Periodicals Unit, floors 2B-4B.


Ask Umbra: What should I do with used tissues, old mixtapes, and rage against the greens?

Readers wonder how best to dispose of snotty tissues and outdated casettes -- and whether breathing contributes to global warming. Umbra keeps a cool head.


Ask Umbra: How do I fight my city’s terrible litter problem?

A reader's burg is infested with litterbugs. Umbra says that with a little help, you can squash a problem like that.


Ask Umbra: How do I know if my local swimming hole is safe?

A reader wonders if it's OK for her kids to dip into a nearby river. Umbra gets testy.


Ask Umbra: Is it OK to lather up in the lake with biodegradable soap?

A reader thinks he's found the perfect suds for outdoor scrubbing. Umbra says bubbles belong in the bath.


Ask Umbra: How do I wipe out a yard full of weeds?

A reader says her yard has turned into a little shop of horrors. Umbra helps her seymour of the forest through the weeds.


Ask Umbra: Good gracious, is there lead in my fine china?

A reader isn’t sure what to do with her antique dinnerware. Umbra nixes food on the china.


Ask Umbra: Is it OK to recycle bottles that have been full of chemicals?

A reader wonders if motor oil and cleaners could contaminate her recycling. Umbra can hardly container self.


Ask Umbra: So even BPA-free plastic is poisonous now?

Scientists have found that even "safe" plastic sippy cups will leach hormone disrupting chemicals into your kids' milk. Umbra flips her lid.


Ask Umbra: Should I trade my big home in for a tiny house?

A reader wonders if a new tiny home would be greener than her old house. Umbra squeezes in an answer.

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